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The Creeds

The discussions which arose upon the Revelation of Himself, which God
gave in His Son Jesus Christ, were carried on between people who lived
far apart round the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nature of Almighty God could not possibly be easily understood by
man. We might as well expect a horse to understand the nature of man.
When a man tries to make a horse understand kindness, he is often
disappointed with the lower nature which seems unable to appreciate it:
but he perseveres, and expects some response to his efforts.

In like manner we may believe that God expects us to respond when He
reveals something of His own Nature to us.

Assuming that He is perfectly Wise, we must own that what He tells us
about Himself it is good for us to believe, and to try to understand.
The Revelation is itself a claim upon our Worship. We start with a
grain of Faith: that is, we believe that there is a Revelation--an
unveiling of the mystery of God's Being.

It was necessary that argument should just fail to prove this; because
it is God's Will that men should be equal before Him: the man who can
argue very cleverly was not designed to have an advantage over the
stupid or ignorant man in their dealings with God. The meaning of our
Lord's words, The poor have the Gospel preached to them, is not to be
confined to poverty in money and clothes: the man who is poor in
opportunities, learning, intellect, can believe if he makes the
needful effort: the intellectual man who is poor in humility has also
to make an effort, and to endeavour to believe. They and all others
are made equal when God makes His Claim upon them. Moreover, the
difficulties of Faith are in proportion to the Aids to Faith. There is
no compulsion of Reason, any more than there is compulsion of
Authority, or of Imprisonment. We are all free; we all have
difficulties; and we all have the call of God to Believe in Him.

Reason is one of God's best gifts. Reason shows nothing contrary to
Faith, when the balance comes to be struck. The Intellectual argument
is with us all, and is slightly in favour of Belief. But Faith is the
atmosphere in which we must move, if we are to see the Invisible God.

Revelation, then, appeals to Faith, and is not opposed to Reason. The
Summary of Revelation which is found in the Christian Creeds is
compiled from the Bible. Reason is incapable of assuring us that God
has a Son, and equally incapable of assuring us that He has not a Son.
The Revelation assures us that He has a Son: and Reason cannot, in the
{91} nature of things, contradict that assurance. Reasoning can tell
us, and does tell us, that the Epistles (say) of St Paul to the
Galatians, Romans, and Corinthians were written, as they claim, by St
Paul; that the Gospels and other New Testament books are compositions
of the first century; that Christianity was accepted as true by
multitudes of the people of that century, and so on. But the
acceptance of the Faith was then, and still is, left to your choice--a
choice whether you will listen to God's Call to be His faithful son, or
reject it.

Next: The Apostles' Creed

Previous: Deus Misereatur

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